Marro Lee scored three touchdowns, including the 14-yard game-winner for Crescenta Valley High last Friday night over visiting La Canada in a nonleague contest.
The final tally made it 38-34, and it was emotional, because two days earlier, Gordon Warnock, a longtime Falcons’ coach, died at the age of 79.
Before the game, there was a moment of silence for the only man to lead Crescenta Valley to a CIF football title.
Afterward, the cheerleaders sent balloons with “GW’’ skyward, and the team gathered with several teary-eyed players saying what Warnock meant to them.
The clinching drive began with 2:50 on the clock, started at the Falcon 36, and took nine plays, with quarterback Zac Wilkerson directing the attack.
When Lee, a junior running back, crossed the goal line with 48 seconds left, he raised the football high into the air.
Lee ran for 159 first-half yards, carried the ball 14 times, and scored on runs of five and three yards. Lee accounted for 75 yards in the second half, and toted the ball 10 times.
Lee’s first score came with three minutes showing in the second quarter, tying it at 14-14. Lee’s three-yard blast gave the Falcons (473 total net yards) a 21-20 bulge with 11 seconds left before intermission.
“We sold out for the run,’’ said Crescenta Valley Head Coach Paul Schilling. “We were gambling. But if we don’t turn the ball over (three fumbles), we win by three touchdowns.”
Crescenta Valley (2-1) jumped to a 7-0 lead when Wilkerson (12 of 23 for 160 yards) capped an 80-yard drive with a two-yard sneak as 9:41 remained in the first quarter.
The Spartans knotted it at 7-7, with quarterback Scott Gray (44 yards and 16 rushes) scoring from a yard out as 5:35 was left.
La Canada (2-1) moved ahead 14-7 with 7:08 left before the half, as Gray scored on a one-yard dive.
“I’m not surprised that it was a high-scoring game,’’ said Dan Yoder, the La Canada Head Coach. “They wanted to stop our run, and we had some success throwing the ball.”
With 1:31 left in the second quarter, Gray (nine of 16 for 146 yards and one interception) led a 52-yard drive that he capped with a 19-yard dash. The extra point was blocked, and La Canada was in front, 20-14.
Pavle Atanackovic’s 48-yard field goal with five minutes showing in the third quarter supplied the Falcons with a 24-20 lead, but La Canada (227 total yards) scored two touchdowns, and took a 34-24 advantage.
Gray’s 16-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter ended a 51-yard march, and gave the Spartans a 27-24 lead.
Gray’s eight-yard pass to wide receiver Matt Faber with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter after Wilkerson’s fumble, made it a 10-point deficit.